Getting it on with a hot coworker is the stuff of fantasies for many people, especially if they’ve been crushing on someone in the office for a while. After all, you may not be able to resist if you find the man or woman of your dreams in a * power suit, but what more if you find that you share the same interests?
These office romances are actually fairly common, and the reason behind it is actually quite simple. You spend eight hours a day, five days a week in the office, where you can meet tons of different people. Among all those people you work with each day, odds are you’ll find someone you can really get along with.
Amidst the hustle and bustle of daily office work, you may suddenly find yourself sneaking glances at your crush and catching how you catch their eye, too. [Read: 13 ways to amp up your attractiveness and snag your dream date]
How to have a hassle-free office romance
From copy room flirtations to a steamy office affair up until the awkward breakup, let us be your guide to office romance!
#1 Check your company’s policy on seeing a coworker. Is your workplace squeeze really worth losing your job over? Many companies would discourage an office affair for a good reason: it may get in the way of your performance.
The first thing you want to do is find out if there’s a policy explicitly stating that you should not engage in any sort of office romance, unless you’re looking to get fired. If it’s not stated that this is grounds for termination, then by all means, pursue your love interest to your heart’s content!
#2 Choosing who to date. Obviously, you didn’t land a job for the purpose of finding romance, but it does help to be on the lookout for someone you may be interested in. Superiors and subordinates are definitely off-limits, and seeing them is very unprofessional, so avoid those.
Another consideration is finding someone who isn’t within your department or floor. Building up an attraction with someone you see very often is easy, but it’s equally easy to tire of each other immediately. Try to go up or down a floor, or choose someone from another department. Besides, when things go awry, it would be tough to avoid those awkward moments when the two of you share a cubicle together.
#3 Be sure they’re also interested in you before making a move. Just because Ted from finance or Anne from HR added in a little effort to make your life easier, does not necessarily mean they’re into you. As with all relationships in and outside the office, never assume that someone likes you until you see some obvious signs.
Outside of the office, it’s not really a big deal as they can just avoid you. But within the workplace, this can be awkward at best, or grounds for a * harassment suit at worst!
#4 Get to know each other a little better during a company outing. Nothing adds a little more excitement to an office flirtation than the prospect of seeing him or her outside of the workplace. When you’re all relaxed and free from the pressures of your jobs, you can finally spend some out-of-office time together without you having to ask him or her out on a date.
If your office outing includes booze, then this can be the bottled bravery you need! Just take it easy on the alcohol, though, as you may end up being dead drunk before you can even profess your undying love. [Read: 6 subtly flirty questions to ask your office crush]
#5 Hide it well in the early stages, but come clean if you get caught. Even if it’s not against the rules of your company, your office romance doesn’t need to be the day’s hottest gossip. You don’t necessarily have to tell your boss if you and your coworker are just having a passing fling.
However, if you happen to get caught before you can tell your boss, there’s no use denying it. Your officemates may be put on the line, and they may have to report what they know. In cases like this, just be out with it and be honest with your boss. That’s also a huge weight off your chest as hiding every shred of evidence that you’re with someone from the office won’t be a problem anymore. [Read: 6 quick and easy ways to deal with nosy coworkers]
#6 Tell your boss if it’s getting serious. An office relationship can have some effects on your behavior and performance at work. Though these effects can be controlled, it’s still a good idea to tell your boss about it, particularly if you’ve been seeing for a couple of months.
It’s also better if your boss hears it from you instead of a gossipmonger who may exaggerate the details. While you’re at it, add in some assurance that you won’t let your relationship interrupt your daily duties, and genuinely follow through on it.
#7 Even if you go public, keep it discreet. This means no PDA, no work email “I love you’s” and definitely no making out in the elevator! You’re in a professional environment, after all. So keep your romance out of your work. It’s fine if you want to have lunch together, or if you want to have your coffee breaks together, but keep the physical stuff out!
You’re already sharing an office, and probably seeing each other in the office all the time. Wait it out and resist the urge. Besides, isn’t is so much more thrilling when your honey’s out of reach for a while before you can fall back into each other’s arms after your shift?
#8 Draw a line between your professional and personal relationship. Many workplace couples can pull this off, but some just can’t help themselves! Remember that you’re there to help your company thrive, and not just to make googly eyes at each other or play footsie under your desks.
If two people send something for you to work on, and one of them happens to be your flame, be fair and work on the one you should be prioritizing. Give no preferential treatment to your significant other. Conversely, if you’re having a fight, don’t let it show in your work either.
#9 If things go bad between the two of you, find out how to end it well. Just imagine seeing your ex on a daily basis and feeling awkward when he or she glances your way. Before you embark on your romance, keep in mind that you should be prepared if your relationship doesn’t work out.
Some couples who break up can’t bear the awkwardness, and one of them ends up leaving the company. Don’t allow one dalliance have such a permanent mark on your career!
Some couples, on the other hand, remain fairly professional even after the breakup. Strive for this instead by having a clean exit strategy to alleviate the discomfort, such as using the restrooms away from your ex’s department or choosing a different shift. But don’t completely alienate your ex after the breakup, either.
For the sake of formality, try to remain as civil as possible whenever you see each other. Anything other than civility will definitely get tongues wagging, and you wouldn’t want to be the center of workplace gossip again!